Short SummaryWe are working to save the Manumea and the Ma’o ma’o, two extraordinary birds found only in Samoa that are facing imminent extinction and require urgent conservation action.
Samoa is the homeland for many famous athletes and actors, such as “The Rock” Seiuli (High Chief) Dwayne Johnson, NFL star Troy Polamalu, boxer David “The Tuaman” Tua and rugby star “SBW” or Sonny Bill Williams.
Extraordinary BirdsSamoans describe the Manumea, a beautiful forest pigeon with a unique-toothed bill, as “the princess of the forest” and their voices are filled with awe. Manumea, Samoa’s National Bird, were esteemed by High Chiefs of Samoa as food and for their feathers for decorations. Older people in the villages are worried as sightings and calls of these birds are now very rare. There are potentially less than 200 birds left in the wild and urgent action is needed to keep this species from sharing their cousin the dodo’s fate.
The Ma’o Ma’o (Mao) sports an elegant green-yellow stripe below its sky-blue eye. This large island honeyeater has one of the, if not THE, most unusual, unearthly songs in the world.
Together the Manumea and the Ma’oma’o are key “flagship” species that can be used to promote broader conservation efforts in Samoa, where many animal and plant species are now at risk of extinction due to recent cyclones, invasive species and human impacts.
Urgent Conservation Action is Needed!
Both of these birds are declining very rapidly and urgent conservation action is needed to stabilize their populations and give them a future. We will:
1. Work with local communities and businesses to protect priority native forests through the ongoing establishment of community-based conservation areas, effective zoning for agriculture and logging operations, and expanding education programs at schools and in villages that promote forest conservation, watershed management, and Samoa’s natural heritage. Healthy forests provide food, building and weaving materials, clean and available water, flood protection, and healthy reefs for fishing.
2. Control predatory rats that destroy eggs and kill nestlings and adult birds, especially around known nest sites and in priority forest areas. We continue to test effective ways to control rats in the forest.
3. Continue field research on key aspects of the natural history of these birds, the threats they face, and solutions for their long-term survival.
4. Continue to train and empower Samoan wildlife specialists and community conservation stewards.
Conservation funding is very hard to come by, especially for the smaller species of the islands (there are no tigers or pandas here…), so we are hoping that Indiegogo may catalyze interest and support for these highly charismatic and endangered birds and provide assistance to the people of Samoa to protect their natural heritage.
The funding-level we hope to achieve will allow us to expand our work to 3 more priority sites, triple our education programs staff and villages/school we can present to, speed up research in these key areas, test rat control methods over a much broader area in key nesting site areas, allow us to get a used project vehicle which the lack of presently slows our field work and community interactions
Our team has largely been supported by two modest grants received from the National Geographic Society and the Conservation Leadership Program. The Samoan Government supports our efforts to protect these birds and Samoa’s forests. However, given the rapidly deteriorating situation for these birds, we are now seeking adequate funding for urgent conservation action at a level that we believe is required to reverse the bird’s decline. Thank you for your assistance – Fa'afetai lava!
Rebecca Stirnemann has collaborated with Samoan wildlife specialists and local communities on these endangered birds for the last 4 years in Samoa and has an extensive experience working in the conservation field.
Moeumu Uili is a Scientific Technical Officer with Samoa’s Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment (MNRE) and is highly experienced in community liaison and public awareness efforts.
Fialele Enoka is one of the most experienced field biologists in Samoa and has conducted field surveys for native and invasive species in Samoa for many years with this project and many others.
James Atherton has worked in the Pacific region on environmental management and conservation projects for almost 20 years.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you cant help us with funding please help us by getting the word out by using the Indiegogo share tools and tell every one you know!
· Our project website is: http://www.samoanbirds.com/
· A story about the project by BirdLife: http://www.birdlife.org/community/2012/02/videos-provide-new-information-on-mao/
· Conservation education at Samoan schools:
· A short youtube movie on the Manumea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=WhAGyG2QVTE
· A music video to raise awareness of the need for Manumea and Maomao conservation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGo__Vi3DrU
· Article on the manumea at Mongabay: http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0304-hance-little-dodo.html
· Recovery Plan for the Manumea and Ma’o Ma’o: http://www.sprep.org/att/IRC/eCOPIES/Countries/Samoa/46.pdf
· Samoa’s Biodiversity: http://www.sprep.org/attachments/Publications/RAP_Upland_Savaii.pdf